Friday, November 9, 2018

In the Shadow of Light,by Elaine L. Orr (author), Andre G. Chapoy (narrator)

Lifelong Dreams Publishing, October 2018

Corazon Sanchez, her baby brother Pico, and their mother, Isabella, have walked from Honduras to the US-Mexico border, fleeing the gangs that killed Corazon's father, Manuel. They wanted more protection money for the family's store than they can afford to pay. Also, though, Manuel and his father, Tito, helped save the life of an American soldier, Colonel Bill Haines, years ago when Manuel was a young man. That may also have been a sore spot for the gangs.

The Sanchez family think they are walking towards safety, but they don't know about the changes under the new President (not Trump; the people are all fictionalized.) They don't know about the family separation policy.

And they left too quickly to let Colonel Bill know they were coming.

Meanwhile, civil rights activists, social workers who have to care for some of the frightened children, even Border Patrol agents who never thought that they were signing up to rip children from their parents, want to do something, though they don't yet know what.

And somewhere, someone has decided on the something.

A shadowy group kidnaps Kyra, the ten-year-old daughter of the most visible spokesman for the family separation policy. By chance, Kyra's best friend Bethany is with her, and also taken.

When Corazon, her mother, and her brother arrive at the border, they are quickly spotted by--not the Border Patrol agents that don't like this policy. They're agents who are positively eager to enforce it, as harshly as possible. The children are immediately separated from their mother. Because Corazon clings so tightly to her year-old brother, and he to her, it takes longer to separate them, but it happens.

But a freelance reporter is close enough to get pictures of the initial separation of Isabella and her children, and the swiftness and brutality of it. He contacts a reporter at the Washington Post.

And Colonel Bill, when those pictures are published, recognizes Isabella from the pictures Manuel sent over the years. Events start building toward a climax.

There's a lot happening here, and Orr gets in done with compact, elegant efficiency. The characters are beautifully developed with not a lot of words, and both the urgency and the ambiguity of people, events, and actions is made clear with a delicate tough.

Highly recommended.

I received this audiobook as part of Audible's Audible Originals program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.